Jordan Brown is passionate about baseball. Playing past high school has long been a dream for the Cleburne County High School senior. When longtime Southern Union Community College coach Joe (Jabo) Jordan told Brown in October he had a scholarship for him, “It was kind of like a weight lifted off my shoulders to get a scholarship to go play baseball in college.”
Brown was really excited as Dec. 8, the day for signing the paperwork to make the scholarship offer a reality, neared. When Friday arrived, so did a 10-inch snowfall that canceled school and all associated activities.
“When it got canceled Friday I was kind of bummed out because of the snow. I was like the one kid who wanted to come to school Friday,” Brown recalled with a smile Tuesday morning at the rescheduled signing ceremony.
Jordan, who became head coach at Southern Union in 1987, was equally excited to have Brown on his roster for the 2019 and 2020 seasons and made the drive from Wadley to Heflin to see it happen.
“He’s a big, strong kid. He’s got a good arm and I think he’ll get stronger and his arm will get better,” Jordan said of Brown. “He knows how to pitch. They’ve done a good job with him here teaching him how to pitch. He has some good off-speed stuff.”
Veteran Cleburne County head baseball coach Vaughn Lee is sure Jordan’s decision to offer Brown a scholarship is one he won’t regret.
“He’s a high-character, intelligent, hard-working kid,” Lee said. “His mid-80s fastball and two good off-speed pitches will allow him to be successful in JUCO and on. He’s matured and learned how to pitch. He could start or come out of the bullpen. He will be successful.”
Jordan said he first noticed Brown three years ago when Jordan’s son, Joey, was playing at Handley and played against Cleburne County. He saw Brown again in the playoffs in the spring against Etowah when he wasn’t his best but saw him pitch again in the summer and was impressed.
“He’s a mid-80s guy right now, maybe a little higher than that, and he’s got a chance as strong as he is to get up maybe in the 90s,” Jordan said. “If he does that, knowing how to pitch like he does, he’s got a chance to be really good.”
Brown, who is 6-foot-2, 200 pounds now and hopes to get to 6-3 or 6-4, is sold on playing for Jordan.
“I really like coach Jordan,” he said. “He talked to us about how he’s kind of hard on his players and I feel like that’s what you need to get to the next level which I’m looking to do. He’s put a lot of players through to the next level.”
Brown had a 2.62 ERA for the Tigers last season while allowing 37 hits in 40 innings on the mound. He believes his control and his fastball are his two biggest assets as a pitcher. He’d like to get to the plate, too.
“I hope I can get down there and impress him with my bat. I like to hit,” Brown said.
That is what Jordan is hoping, too.
“He’s got a chance to hit and pitch, to be a DH-pitcher. He’s got a lot of power. We’ll look at him as both,” Jordan said, noting the combination is something he has done in the past. “I’d rather them DH than play a position because it takes a lot out of their arm over the course of a year.”
Brown’s plan is to complete his basic courses at Southern Union then finish at a four-year school with a degree in exercise science before going to physical therapy school. He’d like to pitch at the four-year school, too.
“I just want to play. I absolutely love playing baseball,” Brown said.
“The coaches here do a really good job. I think he’ll be a good addition to our pitching staff and to our ball club,” Jordan concluded.